How Ethnicity Has Socially And Culturally Integrated With The Help Of Music, Media/Entertainment, Politics, Sports, Etc

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How ethnicity has socially and culturally integrated with the help of music, media/entertainment, politics, sports, etc

How ethnicity has socially and culturally integrated with the help of music, media/entertainment, politics, sports, etc


Ethnicity is a difficult concept to define. It is a relatively recent term; the first recorded use of the term was during the 1940s, and it first appeared in a dictionary in 1972. It is, however, linked to ethnic, which has a significantly longer history. The term ethnic originally referred to people who were neither Christian nor Jewish, but by the 19th century it had come to refer to the (often racialized) characteristics of particular groups. Ethnicity refers, therefore, to the characteristics of groups that allow those groups to be understood or perceived as distinct. However, ethnicity also refers to how individuals understand their participation in, and identity in relation to, those particular groups. As such, ethnicity refers to individual and collective senses of identity.

For many around the globe, the events of 11 September 2001 ushered in an entirely different world. September 11 may also reveal how the sociology of ethnicity has misunderstood the racial/ethnic politics of the post-Second World War era. As Jalali and Lipset flatly assert, 'ethnicity provide the most striking example of a general failure among experts to anticipate social and cultural developments in varying types of societies'. Much evidence supports their thesis. For example, because it assumed that the importance of ethnicity would decrease in conjunction with modernization, the sociology of race and ethnicity seemed unprepared for the resurgence of racial/ethnic conflict in the 1990s. Conflicts in places as diverse as Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Canada, Sri Lanka and Malaysia challenged the theoretical consensus among Marxist and non-Marxist scholars alike that industrialization, urbanization and education would foster racial and ethnic group integrated with the help of music, media, politics and sports. American sociology provides an especially glaring example of this myopia. Its preoccupation with racial attitudes held by White Americans apparently blinded it to the rumblings of African American unrest in its own backyard that exploded into sit-ins, marches, protest rallies and a sustained civil rights movement. As James McKee points out, 'the sociologists of race relations had not merely failed to predict a specific event; rather, they had grievously misread a significant historical development. The race relations that appeared in their writings were incongruent with the race relations to be found in the society around them'.


Studying ethnicity from a variety of disciplinary vantage points is not new. Prior to the Second World War, biology, medicine, anthropology, sociology, psychology, law and political science all studied ethnicity simply because these topics constituted unavoidable elements of their fields. Because no compelling reason existed for sustained scholarly collaboration across disciplinary boundaries, academic disciplines agreed to respect each other's academic turf. Believing that objectivity, rationality, and the importance of empirical evidence in scientific research would excise from the scientific research process the seeming biases associated with ethnicity themselves, Western science aimed for a science of society. New scientific knowledge would help better ...